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Optometrist Receptionist: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Receptionists working in optometry offices must be professional, friendly, courteous and composed. Prior medical office experience and knowledge of eyewear, testing procedures, charts and billing will benefit a job applicant, but those with a polished image and good customer service skills are often hired with only a high school diploma.

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Optometrist Receptionist Job Description

The receptionist's role is critical - this person provides the first impression for patients coming into an optometrist office. This is especially important in a medical environment where people may be apprehensive about health issues. The effective receptionist is able to multitask and respond to the needs of the patients and other medical staff efficiently and calmly. With additional experience and responsibility, a receptionist can parlay skills learned on the job into more lucrative medical assistant or optician roles.

Duties

Optometrist receptionists interface with patients and doctors. They answer phone calls, schedule appointments, maintain charts and greet patients. The receptionist is also responsible for regular office duties, light cleaning, keeping track of supplies and maintaining office equipment. Other duties may include:

  • Pre-testing patient vision
  • Maintaining supplies of eyeglass frames and contact lenses
  • Assisting with frame selection
  • Teaching contact lens care and use
  • Adjusting and repairing glasses
  • Authorizing insurance and billing

Job Requirements

A search of employment opportunities on Careerbuilder.com in October 2010 revealed that the prospective receptionist's personality and image were considered the most important factors. A professional appearance and excellent interpersonal skills trumped experience and education - most optometrists were willing to train the right applicant who possessed a minimum of high school graduation. Other desirable skills were medical insurance and coding experience, computer knowledge, evidence of postsecondary education and strong sales ability. Having a second language was beneficial in certain regions.

Employment Outlook

The growing and aging population is expected to place an increasing burden on health care providers, with support staff picking up much of the additional work load, and optometrist office jobs are no exception. Many eye problems, such as cataracts and glaucoma, are age-related. In addition, the nearly 24 million Americans with diabetes are at high risk for eye diseases (www.diabetes.org).

In 2012, The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an average salary of $27,050 for receptionists overall. About 20% of all receptionists were employed in the offices of physicians. Receptionists and information clerks were expected to see a 14% increase in employment from 2012-2022, which is about average.

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